MARCH 31, 2015, DAHLGREN, Va. (NNS) – The Center for Surface Combat Systems (CSCS) conducted a one-week Vertical Launch System (VLS) Self-Assessment and Groom Training (SAGT) pilot course aboard the Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS Ramage (DDG 61). The pilot was completed March 27.
Development of the VLS SAGT course was an effort between CSCS, Program Executive Officer Integrated Warfare Systems (PEO IWS) 3, Surface Warfare, Naval Sea Systems Command (NAVSEA 21) Surface Training Systems (STS) Program Office (PMS 339) and Naval Surface Warfare Center (NSWC) Port Hueneme Division (PHD).
CSCS developed Advanced Warfare Training (AWT); a comprehensive curriculum, delivered in three phases and designed to be repeated on an 18-24-month cycle to help fleet Sailors prepare for and defeat the wide range of modern anti-ship and ballistic missiles that are found in today’s theaters of operations.
The proven series of Self-Assessment and Groom Training (SAGT), Phase I of AWT, begun in 2009 for AN/SPY-1 RADAR, Command Control Communications Computers & Intelligence (C41), and Navigation systems. SAGT is now being expanded by type commander (TYCOM) direction to include the Vertical Launch System (VLS) found onboard surface combatants.
The first day of the VLS SAGT comprised of classroom instruction. Instructors discussed VLS administrative operations, covering the VLS safety and preferred arrangement/configuration of missiles program and simulated inventories (PACM/SI) program.
“The next four days of instruction was conducted on Ramage utilizing the MK 41 VLS as a laboratory consisting of preventive maintenance, inspection and assessment procedures including recognition and interpretation of the malfunction indications in accordance with VLS technical manuals and preventive maintenance system (PMS) procedures,” explained Jon Harris, CSCS’ director of training.
“The instructors covered VLS launch control unit (LCU) operations and the role of the work center supervisor in maintaining the missile safety report, including status of faults and instruction of the VLS global positioning system (GPS) integration (VGI) operations in support of the ballistic missile defense (BMD) mission.”
Ramage’s Gunner’s Mate 3rd Class Donovan Spencer says he would highly recommend the VLS SAGT for other ships.
“It was a great learning experience for me especially as a new guy onboard, but also as a striker into the GM world,” Spencer explained. “The instructors were knowledgeable and experienced not only with VLS, but other systems in the ship as well. This course should be continuous because the more we learn, the better we are at what we do.”
Gunner’s Mate 1st Class Anthony Rodriguez strongly agrees with his shipmate.
“This course should have been implemented years ago,” he said. “Every VLS team needs this training.”
Capt. Bill McKinley, CSCS’ commanding officer, discusses how graduates of this course are better prepared to operate and maintain the MK 41 VLS.
“The VLS SAGT describes and demonstrates, at an advanced level, the knowledge and skills necessary to perform self-assessment and systems groom, at the equipment level, for shipboard MK 41 VLS in support of all warfare operations,” McKinley said. “I believe this course provides qualified fleet VLS technicians with the knowledge and resources to properly maintain/operate their shipboard equipment and how to properly respond to any type of emergent situation.”
The Center for Surface Combat Systems mission is to develop and deliver surface ship combat systems training to achieve surface warfare superiority. CSCS headquarters’ staff oversees 14 learning sites and provides almost 70,000 hours of curriculum for close to 700 courses a year to more than 40,000 Sailors. The training center uses a mix of blended learning comprised of instructor led classes, hands-on labs, simulation and computer-based training.